facial toner

There is a misconception that only oily skin types need to use toners. I think that probably stems back to memories of harsh astringents that we used to control sebum and acne in our teenage years. These types of toners contained high amounts of alcohol, were drying to the skin and usually did not feel very soothing upon application.

Although toners have come a long way since then, there is still frequent debate as to whether toners are a necessary part of a beauty regimen. Opponents may point to their ability to fully remove dirt and to restore the skin's pH balance. While toners do indeed accomplish both of these tasks, the question is whether it is really necessary. After all, if one is using a proper, gentle cleanser, then it should rinse off completely and it shouldn't adversely affect the skin's pH. Along the same vein, if one is exfoliating regularly, then one shouldn't require a toner to remove any extra cellular debris.

So if all the above is true, then do toners really have nothing to offer besides a fresh feeling and nice fragrance? The answer is, yes they do.

In addition to their long-standing functions of oil control and pH balance, the toners of today can add nourishing anti-aging benefits to their roster. As they calm, refresh and clear out clogged pores, they also deliver botanical antioxidants and peptides that will smooth, hydrate, brighten and even repair skin. The right toner for your skin type will leave your skin healthier and glowing — read for recommended products to suit your needs.

Toners for Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

Snowberry Gentle Remineralising Toner ($53) is actually a combination cleanser and toner. Gentle and lightly foaming, it contains extracts of kumquat, kiwi, neem fruit, honeysuckle and sunflower, in addition to white coral extract and mother of pearl extract powder to tighten, rejuvenate and soften skin.

Stemulation AHA Herbal Balancing Toner ($38 in the shop) removes traces of dirt and makeup while maintaining skin's essential moisture. It contains alpha hydroxy acid to exfoliate and smooth out skin tone, and is packed with antioxidants and herbal and botanical extracts to accelerate healing.

Toners for Dry Skin

La Vie Celeste Restorative Illuminating Toner ($35 in the shop) contains niacinamide, a potent form of vitamin B, as the third most dominant ingredient. Free of alcohol, oil, fragrance and toxic chemicals, it soothes, brightens and firms skin with a blend of organic botanicals and antioxidants in an aloe base.

100% Pure Jasmine Green Tea Tonique ($19) is a toner formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and botanicals to nourish dry and sensitive skin without stripping away moisture. Licorice, chamomile and cornflower extract are among the calming and anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Toners for Combination Skin

Arcona Cranberry Toner ($32) is a multitasking milk toner that cleanses, tones, hydrates and removes makeup. Anti-inflammatory witch hazel soothes while sodium lactate controls pH. This toner is gentle while also protecting, nourishing and giving skin an antioxidant boost.

Michael Todd True Organics Blue Green Algae Toner ($18 in the shop) uses kelp in combination with hyaluronic acid to eliminate toxins, promote cellular renewal and naturally nourish the skin. This antibacterial toner helps heal and promote clear skin.

Toners to Combat Redness

Sevani Rose Hyaluronic Age Defying Tonique ($39 in the shop) is a hydrating, antioxidant spray mist with rose to reduce redness, puffy eyes, dryness, free radical damage and the appearance of broken capillaries. It contains tremella hyaluronic acid for moisture retention and vitamin D, pomegranate and MSM — all in a base of aloe vera.

Blissoma Tone Intense Hydration Tonique ($25.99) combines a cooling herbal base of oatstraw, horsetail, plantain and dandelion, as well as burdock to firm skin and quercetin to reduce inflammation. Its calming blend of organic ingredients soothes, smoothes and moisturizes skin.

Toners to Lighten Dark Spots

Sweetsation C*Bella Organic Brightening Toner ($24) contains vitamin C, fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids to gently exfoliate skin, close pores, balance skin's pH and remove any traces of dirt. It fights against free radicals and sun damage while lightening discoloration for a more even complexion.

Mirai 3-in-1 Multi-Tasking Face Serum ($35) provides the benefits of a toner, moisturizer, and age-defying serum in one product. It contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, green tea, aloe, rice extract, silk and soy proteins to help skin retain moisture while diminishing age spots and wrinkles.